Tag: Eagan pump & jump park

My home town of Northfield has acquired the Fargaze Meadows subdivision for a future park but it comes with an eyesore: a huge mound of dirt. In the May 28 Faribault Daily News: Northfield gains 40 acres from Rice County for parks and trails:

But converting the land will neither easy nor cheap. A giant mound of dirt lies on the north part of the land, which not only makes for a poor view, but also causes a lot of problems for the homes in the neighborhood. County engineer Dennis Luebbe estimated it could cost up to $280,000 just to move the dirt.

Eagan Pump and Jump Bike parkDavid DeLongBack in May after a downtown parking management meeting, I was chatting with Ward 2 Councilor David DeLong about my mountain biking adventures and mentioned to him that many municipalities are building bike parks (pump and jump parks) as an amenity for their citizens of all ages. As I’ve noted here on my blog, Eagan has one that I regularly use (left photo), Maple Plain has one, and Cottage Grove starting building a big one this week.  Others are in the works for Duluth, Maple Grove, and Cuyuna and probably many more. When Dave learned about the cost of removing the big dirt mound at Fargaze, he emailed me, wondering whether some of that dirt could be used for a bike park. I replied:

The type of dirt used to build the features for these parks matters, as the jumps, berms and rollers deteriorate quickly if it’s not hard-pack dirt.  I’m guessing that mound of dirt at Fargaze is black dirt.

He replied:

Griff, I don’t know what the dirt is but I think there must be more than black dirt. If it was most likely there would have been greater erosion. Amateur opinion. The quietness and growing popularity [of bike parks] along with the age range of participation does intrigue me. Thanks for the links and following up.

Last night while riding my around-town bike in the area, I decided to take a closer look.  I was shocked to not see black dirt. So today I went back, took photos, and dug (heh) a little deeper. It appears that Councilor DeLong’s amateur opinion was correct.

First, some perspective:

Fargaze Meadows, Northfield - looking westFargaze Meadows, Northfield - looking southFargaze Meadows, Northfield - looking northFargaze Meadows, Northfield - looking north
The mound of dirt looking west, south, and north. Far right: looking north from atop the mound.

Fargaze Meadows outlined  - Google EarthFargaze Meadows dirt mound - Google Earth
Left: My markup of the Google Earth view of the Fargaze parcel. Right: satellite view of the neighborhood with the pond and the mound.

Fargaze dirt cutFargaze dirt washoutFargaze dirt mound showing dirt cuts/washouts - Google Earth
Left and center: two of several dirt cuts/washout areas that indicate that the mound is not made of black dirt. Right: the dirt cuts/washout areas viewable from Google Earth’s satellite.

Access point to Fargaze dirt moundFacing east at the bottom of the Fargaze dirt moundFacing west at the top of the Fargaze dirt mound Facing northwest at the top of the Fargaze dirt mound
Primary access to the dirt mound is at the corner of Ford St E and Brogan Dr. (left). Once on top, it appears that the mound is big enough to locate a significant portion of a bike park on top of it.  The dirt could easily be moved to build the bike park adjacent to / south of where the mound is. Or both.

As for the type of dirt needed for a bike park, I contacted Chance Glasford who’s working on the bike park in Cottage Grove and he wrote to me:

You want to be able to make a dirt ball, like a snow ball out of it. If it holds together, maybe bounce it a little to see how it holds up. If it does, that’s good. Also look for that reddish brown color. That is mineral soil.

Soil in the Fargaze dirt moundSoil in the Fargaze dirt mound Moistened soil from the Fargaze dirt mound
I scraped some some dirt from the side of the dirt cut, brought it home, mixed it with some water and made a ball. It split apart when I dropped it from a height of about a foot so it may not be perfect.  I put it in the sun and it was baked into a hard rock by day’s end. So it’s definitely promising and probably worth the money to have a company drill soil samples of the dirt mound.

I’ve begun having conversations about all this with Nathan Knutson, Chair of the Norrthfield Park & Recreation Advisory Board, Northfield City Administrator Tim Madigan, and Joe Stapf and Jaspar Kruggel from the Northfield Public Works Department.

Eagle ID bike park 1Eagle ID bike park 2Eagle ID bike park 3Eagle ID bike park 4 
The photos above are from a profile of a bike park in the city of Eagle, Idaho that was built by a company called Alpine Bike Parks. It has some similarities to the location and height of the Fargaze dirt mound here in Northfield:

Once the community was ready to develop the park, they reached out to Alpine Bike Parks to develop the full-service public bike park facility. Mechanized construction included slopestyle downhill trails, skills development areas, and competitive mountain cross and dual slalom courses. These trails raised the public profile of the project and assisted in developing capital for future project phases, including additional skills areas, and competitive BMX and mountain bike race courses.

  • Duration of Construction: Two months
  • Scope: Master planning, trail design, trail construction, community outreach.
  • Methods: Excavators, tracked loaders and skid steers, hand shaping
  • Budget: $130,000
  • Client: City of Eagle, Idaho

I’ll update this story as it develops by attaching comments to this blog post.

Advocacy Parks

Chance Glasford, Eagan Bike Park build day Eagan Bike Park build day Eagan Bike Park build day
MORC board member Chance Glasford orchestrated a dozen volunteers yesterday for a big build/rebuild of the MORC pump/jump park in Eagan (Facebook page link).  His May 6 blog post set the stage:

This coming Saturday will be the first major build day at the Eagan Bike Park, the newest addition to the MORC riding facilities. The park is currently about 80% complete after all the hard work from the volunteers last year. The original group of volunteers approached MORC and asked if MORC would like to partner with the City and help take this Bike Park to the next level and fulfill its true potential.

The answer was “Yes” and now is the time to act! There will be a Mini-Excavator, Skid Steer and gas plate compactor on site to speed up the building, but a majority of the work will still need to be done by hand. Please come help make the first bike park in the Metro area a success! Dress for trail work, wear closed toed shoes and bring gloves. (continued)

Mark Gavin, de-berming at the Eagan Bike ParkWhen I wasn’t learning the art of de-berming from MORC board member and treasurer Mark Gavin, I periodically took photos of the amazing transformation. 

I could only be there from 9-noon so I’ll try to get back there in the next day or so and take some more photos to show the end-of-build-day results.

See my large slideshow of 3 dozen photos (recommended) or SLOW CLICK this small slideshow:

Photo album Trail work

I’ve blogged a bit about the Eagan pump & jump park where I learned to pump last year. If you follow that tag link, you’ll see the name of Chance Glasford, the guy behind the park’s creation.

Griff Wigley, Cottage Grove - bike park presentation 3.11He’s at it again, this time leading the development of a proposal for a bike park in his home town of Cottage Grove.  Yesterday, the proposal went before the Cottage Grove Parks, Recreation & Natural Resources Commission and I went to lend some support. Reed Smidt, President of MORC, spoke, as did other members of the Cottage Grove bike park task force.

Yes, I wanted to return the favor to Chance for all he’s done that has benefited me.  But I have my selfish reasons, too. Cottage Grove is only 35 minutes or so from Northfield and I expect to be a regular at the park if it’s built, as it’ll be considerably bigger with more features than the one in Eagan.

Cottage Grove - bike park presentation 3.11 Reed Smidt and Chance Glasford, Cottage Grove - bike park presentation 3.11 Chance Glasford, Cottage Grove - bike park presentation 3.11 Chance Glasford, Cottage Grove - bike park presentation 3.11

The parks commission unanimously approved the proposal and it now goes to the City Council for consideration in a couple of weeks.

Trevor Crawford and Chance Glasford at Cottage Grove - bike park presentation 2.14 Chance Glasford, Cottage Grove - bike park presentation 3.11

Left: The video of Chance’s Feb. 11 presentation to the commission

Right:  The video of Chance’s Mar. 11 presentation to the commission

Advocacy Parks People

I was at the Eagan Pump and Jump Park last Wednesday for the first time in many weeks. I went straight to the beginner jumps and couldn’t do anything. I spent the next 20 minutes on the beginner pump track, got the hang of it again, THEN went back to the jumps and VOILA! I actually got close to clearing a couple of the table tops. Nothing that would be visible to anyone else but the difference in how I felt going over them was huge.

Mastering Mountain Bike SkillsWhen I got home, I grabbed the book Mastering Mountain Bike Skills by Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack (first recommended to me by Chance Glasford) and re-read Chapter 9: Jump With the Greatest of Ease.

When I first read that chapter (months ago, before I had any real interest in learning to jump), this sentence stood out (page 144):

If you can’t hop a curb, you have no business jumping.

So that’s when I decided that learning to bunny hop and learning to manual were the skills I was going to focus on this year. I learned the connection between pumping and doing a manual back in July (Learn to pump at a pump park. Singletrack flow trails will never be the same) but  I’ve not mastered the bunny hop yet so I’ve not really considered trying to learn to jump.

But on pages 140-141 of the book, there is a section titled Prerequisite Skills (“Before you take to the air, you must be smooth and consistent with these skills:”) and they list these five: 1) Attack position; 2) Hopping; 3) Dropping to flat and downslopes; 4) Pumping; and 5) Doing all this with flat pedals.

The blurb on hopping:

Hopping teaches you to load and unload your bike. The higher you can hop, the more boost you can get off jumps. It also teaches you flight skills.

The blurb on pumping:

Pumping is perhaps the holy grail of all riding skills. It teaches you to load and unload in time with the terrain, and it trains you to let your bike follow an arc while you stay centered over your pedals.

Chance Glasford pumping to jumpFor some reason, it never got through my thick skull that hopping, pumping, and jumping were all connected via the ‘load and unload’ motion. But looking at my photos of Chance riding the pump tracks (more here), I can see it now.

The connection between pumping and jumping got permanently embedded into my brain/muscle memory last week.  I’m now psyched to work at bringing bunny hopping into the mix.

Props to Chance (follow his blog here) for all the work he’s done on the Eagan Pump and Jump Park and for pestering me to buy the book, Mastering Mountain Bike Skills.  FYI, that link to the book happens to have these three image excerpts of pages 143-145 from Chapter 9: Jump With the Greatest of Ease.

how to jump, page 143how to jump, page 144 how to jump, page 145

Learning to ride

Back in April, I blogged about the opening of the pump and jump park in Eagan, adjacent to the skate park at the Lexington-Diffley Athletic Fields (Google map here).

The idea of a pump track is to ride it around and around without pedaling. As I wrote back then, on my first stint, I was able to eventually get around the beginner track on my 29er hardtail. Hard work but fun, once I got the hang it.

When I rode Lebanon Hills a few days later, I noticed that I was able to transfer my newly acquired and modest pumping skills to the rollers there. I was pleased.  I did a couple of more sessions on the beginner pump track before I went to Cuyuna Lakes MBT Festival in June.  I was ecstatic.  I could not believe how much more fun it was to ride Cuyuna’s roller-infested flow trails.  Every little rise and dip in the trail became an opportunity to accelerate without pedaling.

Chance Glasford at the Lexington pump parkIn late June, I took some photos of Chance Glasford as he zipped around the intermediate and advanced Lexington pump tracks on a 24 inch BMX bike.

(Chance is a MORC member, author of the Self-Sponsored Cycling blog, and the leader of the construction of Eagan’s pump and jump park.)

Chance Glasford at the Lexington pump park Chance Glasford at the Lexington pump park Chance Glasford at the Lexington pump park Chance Glasford at the Lexington pump park
Chance could get going so fast that he could manual over two rollers at a time and fly over the table-top jump (right photo above) on the advanced pump track.

I haven’t figured out how to pump the berm to keep my speed up. Chance is doing this in the left photo above where you can see he’s coming out of the berm with enough speed to manual over the two rollers that follow it.

Lebanon Hills: rollers, jumps, berms  Lebanon Hills: 21 rollers
Earlier this month I put my new pump skills to the test on the 21 rollers at Lebanon Hills (left side of the open field on the beginners loop).  After a couple of runs of flying down them without braking, I decided to try to manual over a couple of the rollers.  I picked a couple of spots where the rollers were closer together, scrubbed off some of my speed, and voila!  Too fun.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to completely pump my way around the intermediate track at Lexington, as my 29’er is not the best pump park bike.  The big wheels are a lot to pump.  I might get a 24-inch BMX or trials bike. But in the meantime, I can see how regular stints at the pump track will improve my riding.

loose sand and gravel on the Lexington pump track sweeping the loose sand and gravel on the Lexington pump track
Another surprise: pump tracks need to be swept regularly (loose sand and pebbles accumulate) and then watered down. Chance showed me how to do the maintenance of the beginner’s track last Friday eve.

There are many ‘how to pump’ videos out there, but so far, I like these two:

1. Lee McCormack and Chris Powell coaching high schoolers:

httpv://youtu.be/7Vl80yZ0O-g

2. ZEPTechniques:

httpv://youtu.be/B7AjsUhsD2U

Learning to ride Trail work

The City of Eagan has had a BMX bike park for a few years, adjacent to the skate park at the Lexington-Diffley Athletic Fields (Google map here). It’s undergoing a complete revamping and currently has two pump tracks, beginner and intermediate levels, with a third advanced level pump track opening in May. Also planned: three levels of jumps.

Chance GlasfordChance Glasford, MORC member and author of the Self-Sponsored Cycling blog (RSS feed now aggregated on my right sidebar), has been the leader of the effort to revamp the park. I met Chance at last month’s High School MTB Kickoff and expect to see him this weekend at the Leaders’ Summit.

Chance Glasford and Griff Wigley(Update 4/22, 6pm: I’ve added the photo on the left of me and Chance taken earlier today at the Leaders’ Summit.)

Chance has cited an article in Elevation Outdoor Magazine titled The Park’s The Place , because “it pretty much says it all about why we, the riders in the metro, need bike parks, why I pushed for it and why we are working so hard to get this completed to make the bike park a reality and an enjoyable place to ride, train and improve as riders!”  An excerpt:

Lory-2_FIXEnter the latest trend in mountain biking: bike parks. Designed and built especially for bikes, these facilities offer everything from jaw-dropping stunts to beginner-level trails. While an in-town setting doesn’t provide the escape of a long ride in the mountains, bike parks are highly accessible and a great way to improve cycling fitness and skill levels…

“It’s been exciting to see the explosion in popularity,” says Lee McCormack, who teaches mountain bike skills clinics at Valmont. “The parks really have a broad appeal. Dads and moms, older and younger siblings can all find elements that challenge them, while staying in close proximity to each other.”

And, says McCormack, when you do get out for that remote singletrack journey, the practice you’ve logged in the park will pay off. “I’m riding better than ever on trails—smoother, faster and more controlled—because of all the time I spend honing my technique in a park context,” says McCormack.

DSC08847 DSC08863 DSC08850
I visited the Eagan bike park last night. Trevor ? (white shirt) lives nearby and has been working on the park with Chance. He was there with his friend Nate and gave me a few quick lessons on his new BMX bike.  Saaaweeeet!  I was able to get around the beginner level pump track without pedaling on my 29er hardtail. It helped to lock out my front suspension.  The intermediate loop (they’re connected) is a hoot and definitely  tougher.  Trevor can fly around it and it was inspiring to watch him. Here are a few more photos:

DSC08855 DSC08861 DSC08857

 

DSC08853 DSC08858 DSC08867

It’s no surprise that Tim Wegner has had a hand in this. He wrote last fall in the MORC forum:

A few months ago Chance contacted me and asked if I thought we could renovate the Lexington Park. I told him I would assist with city type things and help him get approval for the work he wanted to do. This discussion went on for a while focusing around not only a dirt jump area but also building a pump track.

Chance and I met with the city of Eagan yesterday afternoon and have gotten approval to move forward with the plan Chance has put together. We are using some design plans from Lee McCormick as well as local input. The city of Eagan is going to begin to destruct half of the jumps this fall yet, move the dirt into piles with construction to begin next spring or earlier if this dry weather holds. Eagan is totally on board with the plan and are excited to see someone take hold of this project.

The big build day was last Friday.  Chance wrote about it in a blog post titled, On the 8th day God gave us pump and we rode!

I just want to thank everyone that showed up to help build! We had a great turn out despite the on and off rain all day. I believe we had 12 people that showed up. I want to give a huge shout out to Tim Wegner and Mike Mullany for bringing their machinery and operating it all day long for us! We moved a ton of dirt and made a lot of awesome track!

I want to thank QBP for allowing so many of their employees to come out and help build. I want to think Josh Abrahamson for bringing a grill and sausages. I want to thank Clay Haglund for driving all the way up from Mankato to help out and donating a push broom to the cause! Shout out to Adam Buck for sending the beautiful Red Bull ladies our way for a nice mid afternoon pick-me-up! I also want to thank Thor and Nick for all their attention to detail and really making the two completed tracks super dialed in!

Over all it was a huge success. We dialed the beginner pump track, completed the second pump tack, which is a replica of the Whistler Crankworx ’10 and got the 3rd pump track, a replica of sea otter ’09 roughed in!

Here’s one of a dozen fabulous photos by Scott Haraldson from that build day:

lpp23

You can follow the Lexington Street Bike Park on Facebook.

Trails